Everything is Fine

Content warning: Depression, Anxiety, Suicide

It was almost as though the universe was trying to tell me something when I began attending Adelphi during the fall of 2016. It was not enough that I was commuting to Long Island from Queens for the first time in my life, nor was it enough that I had no idea what I even wanted to pursue academically. Remember that episode of Spongebob where Squidward moves out of Bikini Bottom and into Tentacle Acres, the gated community for squids? Squidward realizes that his life becomes routine there- nothing changes, everybody behaves in all the same ways.

My first semester as a freshman at Adelphi was something like that, minus the synchronized dance classes and canned bread. The only major difference was how overwhelmed I became as time passed. Donald Trump became president that year; I spent a lot of time crying on November 9th, and while I was upset that day, crying uncontrollably was not characteristic of me. I dismissed my tears over and over that day, hoping that the political threats against people I know and love would never come to fruition.

In retrospect, nothing particularly awful was happening at the time, I had just lost interest in everything that was even just remotely intriguing to me at the time. I would dread waking up every morning, and going through the motions of every day was excruciating. The thought of sleeping made me anxious, because I knew I had trouble sleeping, and by the time I needed to sleep, it was impossible to shut my mind off for just a few moments.

Fast forward a few months to the second semester of my freshman year and all of that had become exponentially worse. I couldn’t stay focused, my eating habits were inconsistent, and sleeping was out of the question unless I was in class and unable to focus. Consequently, I found myself back in therapy after nearly a year without seeing a professional of some kind about what I had been experiencing. After several months of cognitive behavioral therapy, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and major depressive disorder.

I think that on some level I knew this about myself, but self-diagnoses are never the best idea, so I prolonged therapy for a really long time, knowing that they might tell me something about myself that I did not want to know. I also did not understand why or how anything like that could be true of myself. I come from a loving family, I had a job that worked for me as a student, my boyfriend and I had been together for almost three years, and I was making new friends. I had no reason to feel that way and yet I found myself fighting internally to have just a single positive thought.

May 5th, 2017 was the day that Logic released his third studio album, Everybody. By that point, I had already heard and fallen in love with a song off the album he released several days prior, “1-800-273-8255,” in which he sings from both the point of view of a suicidal individual and a representative from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The song outlines an exchange between the two, highlighting the helplessness of somebody who does not want to continue living, and the realization that life is worth living. With this information, I dove headfirst into listening to the album on my commute to school.

I sat on the bus at an ungodly hour of the morning that Friday, and listened to Neil DeGrasse Tyson narrate a story inspired by Andy Weir’s The Egg as a kind of interlude to the album. Soon after, my heart was lightened by the sound of Lucy Rose singing the introduction to another song: “everything is fine, everything is so fine... ‘cause I’m good… and now I’m happy…” which was promptly cut short by Logic, rapping to an intense instrumental from the viewpoint of anxiety. His voice booming in my ears, I heard him say “I’ma get up in your mind right now, make you feel like dying right now, I’ma make you pray to God, to the good old Lord for a sign right now…” Once I fully processed what he said, I almost immediately began crying. Picture that- me, a freshman in college, crying uncontrollably in the train station waiting room at Jamaica Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard. I had never read, seen, or heard something that summed up how I felt so perfectly.

As the song came to an end, I tried to regain my composure but to no avail. The song itself had moved me in a way nothing had ever really done before. With every word he spoke, I felt more and more like the song was written about me. He described panic attacks I had experienced and thoughts that I had been grappling with for such a long time, and for the first time in a long time, I did not feel alone. In a speech he performed as the outro to the song, he explained the feelings I could not not describe on my own. On the train, I listened again.

 

“I’m so in control of my mind and my body

But I’m subconsciously forcing myself into a state

Of self bondage entangled by the ropes of my own mind

I am unhappy

Not with life

But with this feeling”

 

I was unhappy; not with life, but with that feeling. It was not inherently bad that I was unhappy with that feeling. I had every right to be unhappy with that feeling. I carried that thought with me through the rest of my day, and I carry it with me today when I start to feel myself retract again. I remember that despite the panic attacks and days when I do not hold myself together so well, that I am not alone. I am alive, and I appreciate every moment I have.